Robin Ventura’s grand slam single
We are going to go back to the 1999 NLCS that featured the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. The Braves jumped out to a commanding 3-0 series lead and it was all but done for the Amazin’s. The Mets though won Game 4 with a 3-2 score to finally grab a game in the series and that’s where we stand; Game 5 of the NLCS.
Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS was a game to remember not only for Mets fan but to baseball fans all around. The Mets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after a John Olerud 2-run home run in the first inning off Greg Maddux. The Braves even things up with two runs in the top of the fourth inning and then the marathon began.
These two teams battled for over five hours as the game went fifteen innings with so much at stake. The Braves grabbed the lead in the top of the fifteenth when Keith Lockhart tripled in the go-ahead run and the Braves were just three outs away from heading to the World Series.
The bottom of the fifteenth started with a leadoff single by Shawon Dunston who then stole second base. The current batter Matt Franco then drew a walk which was followed by an Edgardo Alfonzo sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Next up was Olerud who after homering in the first inning was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Todd Pratt. Pratt’s patience worked out a bases-loaded walk and the ballgame was tied at three.
Now we have a tie game with one out and bases loaded where any type of hit or sacrifice could win the game for the Mets. Robin Ventura, who was batting .056 in the series mainly due to a calf injury, was the next man up. It was a 2-1 count and Ventura delivered a shot to deep right field to win the game and send the series back to Atlanta.
The unusual part here was Ventura was mobbed by his teammates rounding first base and never touched home plate. Instead of a 7-3 Mets final, it was a 4-3 final and Ventura went into the box score as a walk-off grand slam single. When asked about the grand slam single, Mets manager had this to say about the injured Ventura:
“Robin Ventura played it out on one leg all day. There were times I thought about taking him out, but he told me ‘No, I’m okay, no, I can go,’ and now he comes up with the winning hit, it’s gotta be poetic justice. Justice indeed.”